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EXPRES. III. Revealing the Stellar Activity Radial Velocity Signature of ϵ Eridani with Photometry and InterferometryAbstract The distortions of absorption line profiles caused by photospheric brightness variations on the surfaces of cool, main-sequence stars can mimic or overwhelm radial velocity (RV) shifts due to the presence of exoplanets. The latest generation of precision RV spectrographs aims to detect velocity amplitudes ≲ 10 cm s −1 , but requires mitigation of stellar signals. Statistical techniques are being developed to differentiate between Keplerian and activity-related velocity perturbations. Two important challenges, however, are the interpretability of the stellar activity component as RV models become more sophisticated, and ensuring the lowest-amplitude Keplerian signatures are not inadvertently accounted for in flexible models of stellar activity. For the K2V exoplanet host ϵ Eridani, we separately used ground-based photometry to constrain Gaussian processes for modeling RVs and TESS photometry with a light-curve inversion algorithm to reconstruct the stellar surface. From the reconstructions of TESS photometry, we produced an activity model that reduced the rms scatter in RVs obtained with EXPRES from 4.72 to 1.98 m s −1 . We present a pilot study using the CHARA Array and MIRC-X beam combiner to directly image the starspots seen in the TESS photometry. With the limited phase coverage, our spot detections are marginal withmore »
Measured spectral shifts due to intrinsic stellar variability (e.g., pulsations, granulation) and activity (e.g., spots, plages) are the largest source of error for extreme-precision radial-velocity (EPRV) exoplanet detection. Several methods are designed to disentangle stellar signals from true center-of-mass shifts due to planets. The Extreme-precision Spectrograph (EXPRES) Stellar Signals Project (ESSP) presents a self-consistent comparison of 22 different methods tested on the same extreme-precision spectroscopic data from EXPRES. Methods derived new activity indicators, constructed models for mapping an indicator to the needed radial-velocity (RV) correction, or separated out shape- and shift-driven RV components. Since no ground truth is known when using real data, relative method performance is assessed using the total and nightly scatter of returned RVs and agreement between the results of different methods. Nearly all submitted methods return a lower RV rms than classic linear decorrelation, but no method is yet consistently reducing the RV rms to sub-meter-per-second levels. There is a concerning lack of agreement between the RVs returned by different methods. These results suggest that continued progress in this field necessitates increased interpretability of methods, high-cadence data to capture stellar signals at all timescales, and continued tests like the ESSP using consistent data sets withmore »